Grading Obama

Michael Mike L. Baird's report card (A) from t...

Image by mikebaird via Flickr

I have been an ardent supporter of Barack Obama from the moment he gave his speech to the Democratic National Convention in July, 2004, and that was the first time I had ever seen him. However, I have been disappointed in the results of his presidency so far, and I was left wondering just what was wrong. Confidence Men by Ron Suskind answered some of my questions, prompting me to prepare this report card on the Obama presidency so far. I do expect that Barack will be re-elected because the country would be in much worse shape after a Republican presidency. I also expect that Barack is learning on the job (he is a very fast learner) and will do better in his second term. The nation needs him to do more.

When Barack was elected, we faced a whole host of difficult problems, and the GOP played the obstructionist card to the maximum. Under those circumstances, it would have been difficult for the most experienced leader to lead us out of our difficulties, and Barack was new to the job. He made some early mistakes in personnel selections. Rahm Emanuel and Larry Summers have been replaced and that is a good thing. Barack needs to replace Tim Geithner, and I think that he knows that. If the Senate could be expected to approve a replacement without political theater, I believe that Geithner would be history by now.

All that said, here is my report card on the President so far:

Speech-making                     A+

Decision-making                    B-

Followup/execution               D

Organization                            C-

Bi-partisanship                         A-

Feeling our pain                        B

Solving problems                      C

Connecting to us                      B+

Please see Be bold Barack | Barack Obama | Defender of the Nation | Leviathan

Chicago is

Picasso sculpture in Daley Plaza, Chicago, IL, USA

Image via Wikipedia

I have been thinking about Chicago recently for two reasons; the Daley dynasty is ending and my son has been offered a job there on the near Northside. The Daley’s, father and son, reigned in Chicago for most of my life; an era is ending. Chicago is known as “the city that works.” The Daley’s got things done. Business leaders liked that even though democracy suffered. The other modern city with a similar reputation is Singapore, another city-state with one person rule. Businessmen and women like Singapore because it is clean and orderly. Democracy can be messy and it is the citizens of Singapore who give up some of their rights, not the business people who fly in and out to make deals and money. Chicago resembles Singapore; at least it did when I was a resident of Chicago. My knowledge of Singapore is limited to what I have read.

In the 2008 election, we heard much about how bad Chicago politics and politicians were and that was applied to Barack Obama. I am sure that we will hear the same things and more said again in the 2012 election. Guilt by association. When I lived in the Republican suburbs around Chicago, it was said that the dead voted in Chicago and the living voted more than once. Some of that was probably true. I don’t think that business leaders in Chicago care that Chicago is a one party city; they care only that Chicago caters to business. Republicans complain about the woeful state of democracy in the city, bemoaning the fact that it has been a one party city for so long. I believe that what sparks their indignation more is not that it is a one party city as much as the fact that it is a Democratic administration, not a Republican one.

Please see Illinois | Aversion therapy